With the stakes in Uttar Pradesh being high to keep their flock together for the Rajya Sabha elections slated for March 23, at least four Congress leaders will remain present in the state capital to ensure polling in favour of BSP nominee Bhimrao Ambedkar. Senior leaders Pramod Tewari, PL Punia, Sanjay Sinh and Raj Babbar will stay put in Lucknow to assist Congress Legislature Party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu for the Rajya Sabha polling, Tewari said in Lucknow.
The Congress, with seven MLAs, has already decided to back the BSP candidate paving way for the coming together of anti-BJP parties. “We have decided to join hands with the secular forces against the oppressive and communal politics and decided to vote for the BSP candidate,” Lallu stated. Pitted against an aggressive BJP out to foil the unity bid of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress, especially after electoral reverses in the just-concluded Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the opposition parties are making all out efforts to ensure that their every single MLA voted in favour of the two candidates fielded by the SP and the BSP.
The BSP, with 19 MLAs, needs 18 more votes in order to ensure the smooth sail of its nominee. The Samajwadi Party, which has 47 MLAs, has fielded Jaya Bachchan and will be left with 10 surplus votes. Together with seven Congress MLAs and one Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) MLA, the BSP will be able to get its candidate elected though after the recent parting of ways of SP leader Naresh Agarwal and his son Nitin Agarwal, who is also an MLA, the Opposition parties are working overtime to work out the arithmetic.
The Rajya Sabha polls are also being viewed as further test of a possible alliance of anti-BJP parties and could ensure the longevity of their unity. Tewari also termed as “wrong” the reports in a section of the media that Congress’ state unit president Babbar has resigned from the post.
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